• 9 •
– Anna’s POV –
I used to wish someone was afraid of losing me.
I wanted someone to feel as though losing me would be the hardest thing in the world – specifically my father of course, but anyone would’ve been nice. Yet no one cared. I was so lonely that I thought I wouldn’t even care if I lost myself. I wouldn’t of even cared if I was the one who made myself lost either.
But now, I just don’t care at all. About anything. I have no desire or absolute dread for anything. I can loathe some things. I can at least like some things. But I’ll never have anything to purposefully care about.
It’s like I’ve become numb to experiencing new emotion. Dopamine and adrenaline come hand-in-hand, but my limbs have been cut off. And even then, I don’t feel it.
I feel like I speak – or more, think – in metaphors too often.
I sigh and keep walking along the sidewalk with my hands in my hoodie pocket, head down as I stare at the damp sidewalk. I can inhale the scent of the aftermath of the rainstorm that just took place about an hour ago, and I can hear rainwater finish running out of gutters on apartment buildings. The city isn’t quiet, but it’s quieter than usual. The horns aren’t as frequent and traffic whistles don’t blow as often. The sounds I focus on are the dripping of cloud liquid and the scraping of shoes against the cement. It’s calming.
And after crying and trembling in the darkness of my closet for three hours due to the violent vibrations of my foster house, the calmness was much needed.
I know it must seem so risible of me to be frightened of a thunderstorm, but I can’t help it. It is the one thing that terrifies me most. It is the only thing that brings out the real me. The one that holds back cries and screams and whispers and endless shaking- that’s the real me. And unfortunately, New York has had the worst rainy year, filled with many storms.
I keep walking with my head down until I bump into someone. Then I finally bring my head up, looking at the tall man who must be in his mid-thirties to forties. He has a scruff that needs to be tamed, and he also eyes that need to be whitened again. They’re red, indicating that he is extremely tired or extremely drunk. I’m guessing, that due to the stench he has radiating from him, he is intoxicated.
He smiles drunkenly, eyebrows rising suggestively. “Well hello there, little one.”
I back away from him and don’t reply, trying to step around. I noticed that the few people around were on the other side of the street and too engaged into whatever they were doing to see me. Before I can walk around the stranger, he stumbles in front of me.
“Easy there.” He flashes his pearly yellows in a dirty (no pun intended) manner.
“I’m not easy,” I snap. “Leave me alone.”
He chuckles, bringing his ripped gloved hand up to twirl a strand of my hair around. “I caught a sassy one.”
I immediately slap his hand away and shove his chest. “Well throw me back into the ocean. This fish doesn’t need hooked.”
The man’s drunk and light-hearted (but nastily provocative) smile drops and his eyes darken considerably. He reaches out for my arm and grabs it successfully, pulling me back into a dark and grimy area between two large office buildings. Dirty beer bottles and cans are everywhere, and it smells of alcohol.
I try to remember what do to in this situation, but before I can actually process anything, he throws me onto the ground and follows right on top of me. I hiss when I make impact on the disgusting surface. My arm had been scraped, and my back stings badly from sliding across small rocks in the wet dirt.
I struggle underneath him as he pins my arms onto the earth and uses his lower half to press mine flatter. My mouth opens up to scream, but he quickly grabs a dirty rag from his coat pocket and shoves all the way back to my throat. I gag, trying to spit it out as he replaces his vice-like grip onto my wrist again and holds both in place. But my saliva dries out, and I can’t seem to cough the large material out either.
Muffled screams come from my throat as I try to escape. Any of the tactics to fight back seem useless in this situation, but I know my trainers taught me something. Anything. Remember. Remember. Remember.
The man suddenly digs his knee into my stomach and keeps it there, his weight crushing me. It becomes a struggle to breathe out of just my nose because of this, tears threatening to burst from the corners of my eyes.
He quickly slaps my face. “Shut up.” It comes out just as venomously as a snake’s hiss.
With my hand now freed due to his slapping actions, I quickly tighten my hand into a fist and swing it into his throat. He reacts almost instantly, gasping for air painfully as he clutches his neck with the hand he slapped me with.
At another moment of weakness, I bring my head up and slam it straight into his own skull, making him squeeze his eyes shut and tilt his head back even more. He releases a sound of drunken pain, but I’m not done being freed. He’s still lying on top of me and he still has one hand grasping my other wrist.
My eyes look around for something until they land on half of a green glass bottle the end of it looks sharp and filthy. Quickly, just as he sees what I’m about to do, I grab the bottle by the neck and thrust it into his back by reaching above and around, letting out a short, cracked grunt. He lets out a startled cry and jolts upward slightly by pressing up on his knees, leaving space between our bodies.
I hope his scream attracts nearby people. But then again, I don’t expect help from anyone. Rely on yourself, Anna.
One of my legs is free, but the other is being smashed painfully underneath his body weight. Right on my knee. I yelp and squirm.
“You b****!” He roars, taking the bottle out of his back and raising it high in the air. He rush-fully tries to stab my chest, but I push his arm away at the last second. The bottle goes flying and hits the alley wall, breaking into three pieces before hitting the ground.
Using my free leg, despite the excruciating pain in my left one, I knee him right in between his legs with the space given. This entirely makes him topple, clutching his gut and curling up into a little ball as he rolls off of me. Groans come from him as I stand up, limping, only using my right leg to support myself.
I gag as I take the nasty rag out of my mouth and toss it somewhere near his body, breathing now able to escape me somewhat easier. I’m panting heavily and limp out of the alley and into the grey sky once more.
I wince when my leg scolds me for moving it the slightest bit, having to sit down against a small liquor store building that said: “Closed.” It repulsed me to think that maybe this was the place that that man just came from.
I lean my head back against the glass and try to calm myself down again, trying to think of something else besides the pain in my knee.
I just wanted to go for a walk. Ms. Morgan asked me if I was for sure, because it’s cold out. I said yes, I was sure. Hayley asked if me if I wanted her to come with me. I said no, it’s fine. Two people were foreshadowing this event without even knowing it. Maybe if one of them came with me, this wouldn’t of happened.
One year trickles down my face as people pass by, giving me strange and judgmental looks. But I’m sure if they knew I wasn’t actually homeless and was almost hurt/murdered/raped by some drunk man, they would be offering help and sanctuary. What a f***** up society.
My eyes trail up to the voice, but I don’t move my head. I’m too exhausted from fighting off a bad guy. Aiden Foster stands there, a brown bag with him. He looks good, wearing a worn out leather jacket and a grey v-neck underneath. His jeans fit nicely onto his obviously toned (but not enough to wear it looks revolting) legs. Yes, he looks good. But his face is completely etched in concern. His mouth is twisted into a frown, his eyebrows are dipped together, and his gorgeous deep forest green eyes are swirling in something so sympathetic that I almost fall for it.
I just stare at him for a minute. It’s all I can do. And he just stands there too, staring. He’s shocked and confused.
And that does it.
For the second time today, I cry.
I look away from him, my eyebrows following the shape of his: downward. I purse my lips together and stare at the ground, holding them in for about two seconds. But then in one breath/whimper, they fall out. Passerby’s keep on walking as my shoulders shake and breathless noises come from my lips.
That man brought back too many old memories of my father. He was cruel. He was sadistic. He was always drunk. And he didn’t care about what he needed to do to get what he wanted- even if it meant hurting me. But the thing that brought back the most pain was that I was alone. I’m always alone. I’ll never admit it out loud, but sometimes I just want someone to sit next to me and not say a word. I just want them to sit by me and watch me cry. Then I don’t feel like I’m the only person in the world with problems, because when someone watches me cry, I know they watch because they understand. They don’t speak because they don’t need to ask. They just know. But I never had that. And it just washed over me again.
Footsteps are heard, and for a moment, I think Aiden has walked off. It wouldn’t surprise me. Everyone in my life seems to just walk off. But then I hear those footsteps stop right next to me.
He doesn’t sit down next to me. But he doesn’t say anything either. What he does, is shock me.
With ease, Aiden picks me up in his arms. I shiver from the movement, the cold of the atmosphere outside finally getting to me. He sighs and holds me close to his chest, walking off in the opposite direction of where I came from and where I was attacked.
I notice as we are walking away that he left the brown bag on the sidewalk. A little bit of steam filters from it, meaning that whatever is inside, is hot. Food. His food.
I didn’t say anything. He just left his dinner there and picked me up.
Bad guys with warm hearts don’t exist.
Aye, two updates.
I’m toying with the bad boy stereotype. There’ll be a slight twist on it, I promise.